Water damaged MacBook Pro 15 inch late/eraly 2011


A bit of an intro first, im a part time student, full time worker and home owner...and thus relatively poor in terms of spending money. I have always liked Aplle products and loved Macbook's. Sadly i have never owned one due to the costs.

Now through facebook friends i have aquired a Macbook Pro 15 inch (dont know if its late or early 2011 model till i have it my hands) which has had a glass of water spilled over it ONE year ago. The reason why i got this Macbook are

1) that it only costed me 100€ (figured i got nothing to loose seeing loose components going from 100-600€)

2)having fxied numerous Windows PC's and laptops, Apple and android phones before.

I want to fix this Macbook and have it in working order, my plan for now is:

1) To boot is once to see if it's actually not working (the guy im buying it from is some trendy photographer, figured he might now even checked the Macbook after a few days of drying and just tossed it and buoght/gotten a new one)

2) Take it apart, clean is with lab-grade 99% alcohol (1%isopropyl) twice and air dry.

3) Boot it again and diagnose as following.

The reason why i am stating this is:

1) Is this the right order, im kinda questioning if i should boot it up in the first place and just go clean immediatly.

2) Is the one year waiting period gonna enhance the damage much, i figured (could very wel be wrong) that the damage from water would be ionic corrosion on parts, not actual rust seeing the atmosphere inside the machine and the u know corrosion resistant materials im assuming used in the type of electronics.

Thanks in advance for any answers, all tips are welcome!


(The Netherlands, sorry for the English.)


well il be getting the MAcbook somewhere in the coming week ill be sure to keep u updated and probably ask some more detailed questions

thank you for your replies so far

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A year old spill will likely have a bit of corrosion in it. And yes, sitting wet does make things worse. Yes, ionic corrosion is the main risk (if the water was salty or not pure) and if the power was present. IF the battery was fully charged then shorting could have taken place damaging components.

I would first take the system apart to inspect things and I would use distilled water (not tap!) With a cotton swab (Q-Tip) to spot clean the visible areas (being careful not to snag anything). If the corrosion was not coming up I would try a tooth brush being careful not to scrub to hard as you don't want to pull any of the fragile components off. After this I would go over the areas again with the grain or isopropyl alcohol again using the cotton swabs.

The goal here is using the distilled water to dissolve the corrosion and using the alcohol to dry out the water and to remove any oily deposits. I would not soak anything in this case as its' long since dried.

I'm sure the battery is in bad shape and it maybe damaged. So expect to get a new one. If you can get your hands on a second MacBook Pro of the same model group you could use it to check out the major assemblies (HD, optical drive, display). Just be careful as you don't want to break a good working system.

Once you are sure all of the visible corrosion is cleaned up and the system has had a chance to dried out (even after using alcohol) I would then try charging the battery and then see if the system starts up. If you have checked out the other assemblies you could only need to focus on the logic board and the battery. - Good Luck!

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Thnx for the reply Dan,

U reckon that this type of corrosion can actually eat ( hope u catch my drift) some stuff away like solder of those thi fragile connecting rods of chips/trnasistors etc?


Yes, the metals are in fact being eaten away by the process. But, lets not look at it that way. The amount of loss may not be enough to cause permanent damage (solder joints). The real risk is shorting out. As an example the FET power transistors can be blown that control the power feeds (the charger and the battery)


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